Albert Tay takes the Aston Martin DB11 for a spin. Its looks could kill while its performance does thrill.

驾驶Aston Martin DB11去兜一圈。这超跑的外貌酷毙了, 功能也棒得让人心跳兴奋不已。

TEXT ALBERT TAY

DB系列的高性能豪华旅游车(Grand Tourer,简称GT),是英国超跑Aston Martin阿斯顿马的重要车型,所以用英国传奇汽车制造人物David Brown名字的首字母DB为名。1948年DB1诞生, 如今已经推出了DB11。其实DB11是第9个DB车款,因为没有DB8,而DB10只在007电影Spectre中出现。作为旗舰GT,DB11非常“英国人”,典雅、高效率,就像MI6间谍那么温文尔雅。或许更恰当的说法——它是Aston Martin踏进二十世纪之大计的主要动力。今年,这品牌欢庆成立104周年!

DB11的车厢设计总监Miles Nurnberger透露,当初进行车厢设计时,他被告知“可以浪漫但不可以复古”。DB11外在造型的设计语言比起DB9更是前卫,后者的外貌造型属于舒服经典的DB 形象。例如,旧款DB2、DB5拥有的“S”线条已被重新诠释,以便更好地重现英国绅士面貌;这把“胡须”不只重新“精确地画出”这超跑的车前形象,其他部位的设计也很流畅。

一般人很难在DB超跑的造型上“找碴”,但说到Aston Martin的信息娱乐系统,也只有那些“科技保守派”不会对其落后的程度叹息吧?不过,这样的情况不会再出现!因为Aston Martin公司的小股东——Daimler,带DB11来了先进科技。DB11的车座造型与感觉依然美丽、精致,而“借自”德国制造商Daimler的COMMAND科技所催生出的DB11多媒体系统,走在了时代前端。

此外, DB11的性能表现也比DB9进步很多。首先,引擎的容量虽然比较小,但动力却增加了600马力,而扭转力更是惊人(700 Nm),因为它增设了涡轮增压器。对GT来说,DB11低于4秒的0至100km/h起跑时间其实没有必要如此之快,但没有人会因此感到不快吧。新的 ZF Touchtronic III八速手自排变速箱,也比前款所用的六速变速器更快速、更顺畅。 DB11可说是Aston Martin历史中最强而有力的量产DB,但它不再使用自然吸气引擎。当然,公司并没有隐藏这个事实,反之很自豪地将“双涡轮增压Twin Turbo”的标签打印在引擎外壳上。

Aston Martin尝试通过把引擎声传递到驾驶室内,消除压力感应导致引擎高音质减弱的问题,虽然这样的做法有些“做作”不真实,但那是蛮正常的现象。我个人对DB11的引擎声感到满意,觉得它似乎“成长”了, 可是许多DB的忠实顾客或许会因此怀念过去引擎所发出的“饱满音感”。

DB11的驾驶感可说是一场新革命:无论跑道是否平坦、直、有急转弯,它依然自信、沉着,像个温文尔雅的英国侦探。你或许会感到惊讶,DB11的体积比起DB9更大、更重,但驾驶时,却觉得更轻省,犹如蜻蜓点水,那是因为其创新的流线型,又具备聪明绝顶的悬架系统与更坚硬的底盘。DB11的驾驶状态,值得赞赏。

让我对DB11吹毛求疵,那就是这2+2车座的超跑偏低,长得较高的乘客会“受苦”,因为很可能出现头顶车顶现象。那是因为这超跑的车顶的设计线条精简时尚的关系。一英国竞争对象在这方面就做得较妥善、让乘客坐得比较舒服,它就是Bentley Continental GT Speed。然而,后者的车型大得多,而且比DB11重了550公斤,行驶得比较缓慢,当然,其外型也不能比。总之,DB11的外型及驾驶感让人感到兴奋无比。它不容易让人信心动摇。让我想起这首歌, “Nobody Does It Better”。若你是James Bond迷,你会明白我的意思。

The DB series of Grand Tourers is so central to Aston Martin that it bears the initials of David Brown, one-time owner of the UK-based automaker. Number 11 draws from a rich heritage that began when DB1 was unveiled in 1948. The DB11 is actually the ninth incarnation since DB8 was skipped while DB10 was only used in the movie, Spectre. This flagship GT is as British, classy and effective as the suave MI6 agent. Appropriately, it is leading the charge for Aston Martin’s Second Century Plan now that the company is its 104th year.

The chief exterior designer, Miles Nurnberger, revealed that he was “allowed to be romantic but not retro.” The DB11’s external styling moves the design language significantly forward from DB9 while retaining what has been the classic DB look. For example, the “S” line found in older DBs like DB2 and DB5 has been revived to bring back the English gentlemanly face. This “moustache” not only defines the front but also the lines that flow to the rest of the car.

You would find it hard to fault a DB for its styling but only the technologically conservative would not complain that Aston Martin’s infotainment systems were miles behind. Not any more. They have been brought into the new century with technical enhancements from minority shareholder Daimler. The cabin’s look and feel remain beautiful and refined while the multimedia system borrowed from the German maker’s COMAND is now up to date.

The DB11’s performance is also markedly improved from the DB9. For starters, the engine capacity is smaller but almost 20 percent more powerful (600 bhp) while the torque is now an astonishing (700 Nm) due to turbocharging. The century sprint of under four seconds is unnecessarily fast for a GT but nobody will be unhappy about it. The new ZF 8-speed Touchtronic 3 transmission is also quicker and smoother than the previous six speeder. The DB11 is easily the most powerful production DB in Aston Martin’s history but it is no longer a champion of naturally-aspirated engines. Not that the company is trying to hide this reality since “Twin Turbo” is unashamedly stamped on the engine cover.

The company has tried to counter the usual muffling of high notes caused by forced induction with piped-in sounds which may feel contrived though not uncommon. I found the sound track satisfying enough in a grown-up sort of way but loyal DB customers may miss the full-bodied chorus of previous engines. The DB11’s handling is a revelation: it manages uneven surfaces, straights and quick corners with the same aplomb as a suave British spy. You may be surprised that the DB11 is bigger and heavier than the DB9 but feels more nimble due to innovative aerodynamics, a clever suspension system and a stiffer chassis. The driving dynamics have been universally and deservedly praised.

The only quibble you might have is that the DB11 is a 2+2 seater in which taller rear passengers will suffer due to the sleek roofline. A British rival that accommodates four adults more comfortably is the Bentley Continental GT Speed. But it is much bigger, 550kg heavier and slower.

There appears to be nothing out there that compares with the DB11. Its looks and performance provide the thrills in equal measure. It is not easily shaken or stirred. Most likely, nobody does it better.

 

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